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Cynthia M. Simko

Pronouns: She/Her

Principal Research Director
Cynthia has over 20 years of experience in grant and federal research project management, survey design, recruitment, and data collection methods.

Her primary area of expertise is in survey development, PreK-12 and post-secondary multi-mode longitudinal and cross-sectional projects, and multi-mode qualitative and quantitative data-collection methods. The latter include computer-assisted telephone interviewing, computer-assisted personal interviewing, pen-and-paper personal Interviewing, and web-based interviewing.  

Cynthia has overseen a range of large- and small-scale research and evaluation efforts, successfully applying a variety of research methods and non-response mitigation strategies to achieve desired response rates. Under a subcontract to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Cynthia currently serves as the NORC project director for the Comprehensive Literacy Program Evaluation, funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Under a subcontract to AIR, she is leading the district-level recruitment and data collection effort for the IES-funded National Evaluation of Title III. Partnering with AIR, under an IES grant, Cynthia is the NORC project director for the High School Experience survey. Rounding out Cynthia's portfolio, she serves as the project manager for the Innovations in Sexual Assault Preventions Pilot Program Evaluation, and the Evaluation Training and Technical Assistance Center project, both funded by the Department of Defense.

Cynthia has made significant contributions to a number of other NORC projects such as the Delaware COVID-19 Contact Tracing Project, National Education and Attainment Survey, the Impact of Comprehensive Support and Improvement Designation in Multiple Measure ESSA Accountability Systems study, School Effectiveness in Indiana study, School Improvement Status and Outcomes for Students with Disabilities Study, the National Longitudinal Study of No Child Left Behind, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort, the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients.



DePaul University


DePaul University

Project Contributions

School Effectiveness in Indiana Study

Examining what works for the state’s public, private, and charter schools


University of Notre Dame; University of Kentucky

National Assessment of Educational Progress

Assessing whether the NAEP, used to gauge learning progress, can also measure college readiness


National Assessment Governing Board

Comprehensive Literacy Program Evaluation

Assessing whether grants to promote youths’ reading and writing are having an impact


Institute of Education Sciences

High School Experience Study

Exploring the long-term impact of early college high schools on workforce and life outcomes


American Institutes for Research

Survey of Education Attainment

Exploring the impact of both accredited and non-accredited training programs


ECMC Foundation

Evaluation Training and Technical Assistance Center (ETAC)

Evaluation training, TA, and rigorous evaluations for DoD sexual assault prevention activities


Department of Defense (DoD)

Evaluating the U.S. Military’s Sexual Assault Prevention Programs

Rigorous evaluation of five initiatives aimed at preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault


U.S. Department of Defense